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French electrics - 50 volts on EARTH!

Discussion in 'Electrics Outside of the UK' started by scotthatton, 17 Jan 2011.

  1. scotthatton

    scotthatton

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    Recently moved into a new rental house in France. Not a new place.

    When loading the dishwasher I kept feeling a slight shock (tingle) whenever I touched the metal door, but didn't think much of it as my other half didn't notice it. Guessed it was static. However, it continued so I finally got the multimeter out yesterday.

    Found I'm getting 50 volts AC on the earth, and tracked it back to the socket. So all the sockets on this ring have 50 volts on the earth when I test them against the plumbing pipes!

    Any ideas why 50 volts?

    For the next step is I want to unplug all my appliances so I can prove it's nothing to do with me, then get the letting agent called. If it's something simple then happy to look myself. Based on previous experience it will take the agent weeks to get anyone out...
     
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  3. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Does the issue apply to all sockets in the property or only to those on one circuit?

    P.S. Afaict the french don't use rings for their socket circuits.
     
  4. solair

    solair

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    If the plumbing is live, I would suggest that you do not have a shower in the house and that you get an electrician to see it as soon as possible.

    There's a very serious risk with live plumbing that you could get a deadly electric shock in the bathroom. Even a very small current across your body when you are standing with wet feet in a shower is potentally life threatening as it can cause cardiac arrhythmia and subsequently death!

    Is there an RCD ?

    It may be labeled as disjoncteur différentiel RCD, or just "Différentiel".

    Tell the estate agent that you are concerned that there could be a "RISQUE DE CHOC ÉLECTRIQUE SERIEUX OU MEME MORTEL" and that if they do not send an electrician out a.s.a.p. that you will be moving.
     
  5. mointainwalker

    mointainwalker

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    If you want the agent to take you seriously immediately, I suggest you send a recorded delivery letter ( with proof of receipt posted back to you ) .

    This will cost about E 6 or E 7.

    Reason for this , is that this form of proof is more or less uniformly required for anything legal, even cancelling an insurance policy, so seeing this ought to immediately make the agent change up one or two gears.
     
  6. mikerodent

    mikerodent

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    Hi Scott.

    If you did not pass the problem on to the letting people.
    You need to do the following tests.

    Voltage tests at plug outlets

    Live to Earth
    Live to Neutral
    Live to Pipe

    Neutral to Earth
    Neutral to Pipe

    Same tests at the incoming mains.
    From this, the fault will be revealed. It could be one of several things

    Mike
     
  7. RedHerring2

    RedHerring2

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    Could the fact that some propeties in France do not have a wired earth but rely solely on a metal rod into the ground, have a bearing on this?
     
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  9. solair

    solair

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    That's called a TT earthing system, it's also occasionally found in the UK and Ireland where in rural areas where local geology or the local supply system does not allow the normal TN-C system to be used as the supply neutral is not suitable to provide an earth connection.

    While TN-C is generally preferred in the UK, Ireland, Australia, USA etc, it's not universally considered safer. Some engineers think that it's excessively complicated and dangerous particularly if there's a neutral fault in an area.

    The earth on a TT system should not have any voltage on though. It sounds like there's a fault.

    I'd nearly wonder if some DIY person has perhaps incorrectly bonded Neutral to Earth which should absolutely *NEVER* be done on a TT system.
     
  10. Monkeh

    Monkeh

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    I would be very surprised to see a TN-C system in a domestic property in the UK..
     
  11. winston1

    winston1

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    These sockets with 50v on the earth. Is the earth actually connected to the earth terminal or rod? If not the problem will just be leakage within the various appliances plugged in to these sockets.
     
  12. solair

    solair

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    I meant to write TN-C-S.
     
  13. JohnD63

    JohnD63

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    You obviously have a bad earth and the 50V is most likely inductance.
     
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